By Chad Ingram
There is some concern amongst municipal leaders in Ontario about the Ford government’s decision to close the Ontario Fire College, based in Gravenhurst and which has been a training facility for firefighters for decades.
“There’s a little bit of fuss out there,” Algonquin Highlands Mayor Carol Moffatt said during a township council meeting Feb. 4. “There was no consultation by the province to any organized group about it. There’s no question that online training for firefighters can be easily handled. There is concern about what the practical [training] is going to look like, because there is two sides to fire training. It’s kind of potentially downloading by stealth, because someone’s going to have to pay for it.”
The provincial government announced the closure of the college in mid-January, and while the initial plan it presented was to
include new, regional training facilities, Moffatt said that had later been changed to having two mobile training units.
She questioned whether the changes might carry any liability concerns for municipalities, in terms of ensuring that all firefighters’ training meets standards.
“There are municipalities that are passing resolutions to petition the province to have done something differently, or do something differently,” Moffatt said, adding she’d emailed Haliburton County’s other mayors regarding the issue.